29th. The Lamorna Cove Pioneers exhibition at Pendeen House Gallery was great. Laura Knight’s ‘Spring in Cornwall’ always looks wonderful, as did Munnings’ horses and sketch of Gluck, Wetherby’s portrait of Gardiner, and Lamorna Birch’s and Denys Law's (daffodil brook below) landscapes.
2 red kites over Sainsbury's Car Park, Penzance. A hobby and a dunlin at Windmill Farm, and I missed a golden oriole again at the spot I was photographing dragonflies, though I heard its screaming calls near the car park afterwards. Broad-bellied chaser, black-tailed skimmer and common blue damselfly below.
27th The Church of St Breaca in Breage, West Cornwall, is a gem. The 15th Century wall paintings remind me of Italy. St Christopher’s portrait has a mermaid looking at herself in a mirror, and the Sabbath Christ has flesh stripped by lashing and piercings from nails and spears, apparently to warn about the evils of working on Sundays.
We visited Windmill Farm on The Lizard. I saw a male vagrant emperor dragonfly, and about 10 red-veined chasers. The latter were photogenic. Both species are migrants from Europe, although the darters now breed.
A cuckoo called, and a red kite flew through.
We drove towards Croft Pascoe Pool (in photo), and I had good views of a SERIN on wires near Trevassack, with the yellow rump being obvious. Two others were seen in West Cornwall in the next 4 days.
24th: Knepp Wildland. 3 lesser whitethroats and two nightingales singing. We missed the singing golden oriole, despite being close to it - we didn't know it was there! There are 19 white stork nests this year.
Fallow deer and Tamworth pigs.
23rd. RSPB Pulborough Brooks: 2 cuckoos, 2 singing nightingales, and I heard one of the reintroduced field crickets.
21st. We went to the Forest of Dean, at Old Staple-Edge-Wood 'near' Upper Soudley to see the Iberian chiffchaff. A tree pipit was also singing there. The site was tricky to find given the signal loss in the forest, though we eventually found the bird and had decent views of it singing at the top of beech trees. It sings two song variants, the classic chiffchaff-type song ending in a trill after a broadband sweep, and a second song of a sequence of downward modulated calls often (but not always) ending with an upward modulated call.
Crossbills flew over at Foxes Bridge Bog.
15th. Bat work at Woodchester Mansion - at least 3 brown hares near the entrance gate.
11th-14th. Cornwall. On 11th there were at least 2 distant Risso's dolphins (one with many scars on its pale dorsal fin) off St Ives Island, and a bottlenose dolphin came in closer. Four whimbrel flew W, and a summer plumage great northern diver was close offshore.
12th. I was surprised to find a purple viper's bugloss plant in flower on the Island.
On 13th I had a great day walking to Rosewall and Buttermilk Hills and caught up with the passage of red kites. At least 64 flew NE between 11.00-13.00h. Eight chough passed overhead, and a cuckoo was mobbed by a meadow pipit. There was a mass emergence of speckled yellow moths.
There was a mass emergence of speckled yellow moths.
Several by-the-wind sailors were washed up on Porthmeor beach.
14th Marazion - no sign of the purple heron or the pink-footed goose. I saw 3 sedge warblers. The seaside daisies are in flower, and other invasives in the dunes included purple sorrel and Japanese rose.
8th: 5 swifts over Bishopston.
7th. Some much-needed time out on the levels.
Singing Channel wagtail. A second yellow wagtail flew past the car on Tealham Moor.
The great reed warbler at Ham Wall sang its stunning loud song, and showed reasonably well at times. We also saw 5 swifts, a hobby, and heard 3+ garden warblers.
A basking grass snake and a female orange tip butterfly.
6th. A visit to the gorge. The peregrines don't appear to be nesting this year as far as I know.